Economic Impact

Economics of Hunting\Fishing\Wildlife Watching

Outdoor recreation activities provide not only favorite pastimes for Americans; they are the focus of many businesses that support the country's economy. Across the U.S., 38% of the population participated in wildlife-associated recreation. In South Dakota, the figure is 54% of our citizens.

Hunting (Figures from Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies)

  • Hunting generates $25 billion in revenue sales; a $66 billion overall economic impact.
  • Hunting generates $20.9 billion in salaries and wages, and creates 593,000 jobs.
  • Each hunter spends an average of just under $1,900.
  • Hunters pay a special excise tax on certain hunting equipment and through the Wildlife Restoration Fund this money is apportioned to states for wildlife conservation and education. In 2007, this generated $280 million.
  • It is estimated that private donations from hunters total $300 million annually.
  • Hunting license sales nationwide totaled $725 million in 2006.
  • South Dakota retail sales for hunting activities was estimated at $196 million in 2006; a $303 million overall economic impact.
  • South Dakota hunting generated almost $100 million in salaries, wages and business owner's income, and created 4,500 jobs.

Fishing (Figures from American Sportfishing Association)

  • More Americans fish than play golf and tennis combined.
  • Nearly 40 million anglers generate over $45 billion in retail sales and a $125 billion overall economic impact.
  • Fishing supports over 1 million jobs nationwide, and generates $16.4 billion in state and federal taxes.
  • Anglers pay a special excise tax on certain equipment that generates an additional $600 million nationwide for conservation and access.
  • South Dakota fishing generated almost $154 million in retail sales in 2006; a $224 million economic impact.
  • South Dakota benefited from an estimated $62 million in salaries, wages and business owner earnings in 2006, and created 2,500 jobs.

Wildlife Watching (Figures from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

  • A 2006 survey estimated 257,000 South Dakotans watched wildlife around their homes; most observing and photographing.
  • 116,000 reported watching wildlife away from home.
  • Wildlife watchers in South Dakota were estimated to have spent $183 million in trip expenditures and equipment costs in 2006.
  • Nationwide in 2001 (the last figures available), over 66 million wildlife watchers spent $38.4 billion on their activities and generated a total economic impact of $95.8 billion and over 1 million jobs.
  • Wildlife watching is becoming a popular destination activity. It is estimated that 40% of bird watchers travel away from home to pursue their activity.